Highlights of Marijuana Industry Study on Impact of Medical Cannabis in Colorado Cities

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The Colorado medical marijuana industry has generated more than $181 million in revenues since 2010 and last year employed 4,200 state-licensed workers.

The amount of money Denver collected from the cannabis industry in 2011 was nearly enough to cover the city’s Parks and Recreation Administration budget.

And MMJ businesses account for roughly 10% of all local sales tax in the tiny Colorado mountain town of Nederland.

These are some of the findings in a new report titled “The Colorado Cannabis Industry: A Tale of 10 Cities,” released Thursday by the National Cannabis Industry Association.

The report examines the positive impacts of the medical marijuana industry in 10 Colorado cities: Aspen, Boulder, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Lakewood and Nederland. It uses 2011 data collected from a variety of sources, including government documents and media reports.

The situation has certainly changed a lot since 2011. Dozens of dispensaries located near schools have closed this year in Denver and Boulder as the result of federal pressure, and the MMJ industry in Fort Collins evaporated completely when the city banned dispensaries and grow operations in February.

So the data for 2012 will look much different. But the information in the study provides a solid snapshot of the industry and underscores how important it is to many cities in the state.

Other highlights:

– The sale of medical marijuana created nearly $10 million in annual tax revenue last year for the 10 cities studied, including $5.2 million in local and $4.5 million in state taxes.

– Cannabis businesses in Denver recorded $82.2 million in sales last year, a 55% increase from 2010. As a result, the city collected $3 million in tax dollars from the industry, up from $1.9 million a year earlier.

-This year, the Denver cannabis industry has racked up $45.7 million in revenues through July and sales tax of $1.7 million – on pace to come in slightly lower than 2011 but still strong.

– Denver was also home to roughly 400 dispensaries and infused product manufacturers as well as another 484 cultivation centers at the end of 2011. Those businesses paid more than $6.1 million in license and application fees.

– Colorado Springs MMJ businesses reported $30.8 million in revenues, pumping $771,000 into the city’s coffers. That money was enough to cover the refurbishment of two fire engines and three aerial trucks – which proved critical this summer as the city battled a severe wildfire.

– Boulder ranked as the third-biggest MMJ city in the state, with the cannabis industry generating $22.3 million in revenues and $760,000 in local taxes last year.